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Hospital staff can guide sick friend

Dear Annie: My good friend “Allie” works full time and lives in low-income housing. Like many others, she lives day to day.

Allie has befriended a couple who have fallen on hard times. From time to time, she allows them to live with her. The husband was diagnosed with lung cancer more than a year ago. The wife works full time and has health insurance. But her entire paycheck goes to cover the high cost of his prescription medications.

Several months ago, they were evicted from their apartment and have been living all over the place, including with Allie. They hocked their wedding rings and nearly everything they owned. Allie cannot let them stay more than 15 days a year or she faces eviction.

There has got to be some help for this couple. Do you or any other readers out there have any suggestions? – Cornered in California

Dear Cornered: Allie should suggest that her friends talk to a social worker at the hospital where the husband is being treated. They often have information on what type of assistance is available, can guide them through the process and will know whether they qualify for any kind of state aid. The couple should also contact the American Cancer Society ( at (800) ACS-2345 (800-227-2345) for help and information.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@